Sunday, 31 December 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone.  I am attaching a couple of pictures ...

First Rosie under the Christmas Tree



and then my dear friend, Audrey, all dressed up to go to Christmas dinner.  She has been poorly the last few months and has been on steroids but is feeling a bit better now, thank goodness.



And heres a photo of my cheeky nephew, Martin, taken at a Polish wedding we went to the other year. 

Thanks to all for your friendship over the last few months.  I really value my time with you all and being part of your worlds.  I wish you all a very happy new year.


Terry x



Friday, 29 December 2006

Party Games

We are having a few friends around tonight who have got children = all over 10.  Anyone got any ideas on any fun party games we can play.  I seem to remember one that you dot each other's faces with ash but can't remember what its called or how you play it.  Any suggestions very welcome.



Thursday, 28 December 2006

Mummy's Memoirs - Part 10 - Diphtheria and Hitler

In school I seemed to have no trouble. Everything went smoothly, I was happy.

One day we were told our school was to be redecorated. We would have to attend the boys school!

We were marched in long crocodile lines to the boys school. Some of the girls cried. I was frightened too. Boys! I’d rather do anything that have anything to do with boys.

But it was not too bad. We had our own classroom. We only saw the boys when we went in or out.

While we ere at the boys school I became ill. Could not drink the milk still so Mother would give me a medicine bottle filled with cocoa in the morning from our breakfast cocoa. At school I was allowed to place it on the radiators, so that by break time it was nice and hot.

I got my hot cocoa that morning but I could not drink it. I felt awful. Felt sick and tired. I started crying.

A teacher took me home.

I was put in bed and the doctor called. I had diphtheria. He gave me an injection and left the phial the medicine had been in for me to play with. I could not play with it, I was too ill.

I could not eat anything, my throat was too painful.

I was ill quite a long time.

Gise came to visit me to bring back my cocoa bottle.

Gise got diphtheria too.

After a while I got better. I was good at reading by then. I read my school books from cover to cover.

The flat was fumigated after I got up. I felt very important. All that fuss over me!


In school we had a big gymnasium, and in the evening I joined a club for athletics.

I loved it, I could do anything - we would do all sorts of contortions on the bars. To music we would drill.

After a time We became aware of the Hitler jungen.

They had a club. We had to pay a schilling a year. Theirs was free with refreshments, lemonade and sausage rolls. Also they were supplied with a uniform, brown shirt, black tie - caps - socks - all for nothing. They would be taken to Summer camp during the holidays. All for nothing.

The boys had all joined. They strutted around the yard in their uniform. We would make fun of tem. If we were caught by them they would punch us.

We hated the Hitler jungen, they were a lot of show offs, Hitler, Hitler, that’s all people talked about.

On the wireless it was the same. Everyone became aware something was going on.


Mother and father took me to Vienna to stay with a girl and her mother. This girl had stayed with us for three nights. She was an artist in the theatre. She was of Czechoslovakian origin and when she came to Berndorff with the Czech troupe to play in our theatre the Czech community put them up. My Mother being so friendly with the Czechs also wanted to have someone.

In Vienna it was lovely. We went to the Prater. The Zoo - it was in a beautiful park, the gardens laid out with flowering bushes.

[My goodness, Mum had a wonderful memory, this is what I found on the internet when I looked up Prater, Vienna.


Many people regard the Vienna Prater as just another fun-fair. But it´s much more than that: it´s a Viennese institution, like the coffee houses or the Heuriger (wine taverns). Its landmark, and one of Vienna´s too, is the 65 metre high Giant Ferris Wheel. It towers over the 200 booths in the Prater, the ghost train, go-karts and grotto railways, the merry-go-rounds and fruit-machine halls, throwing and shooting galleries.

The Prater has something to offer for the whole family: take a ride with the children on the fairy-tale railway, the children´s dodgems and the scenic railway. Plummet down the extra-long slides, laugh yourselves crooked, bent, fat or thin in the hall of mirrors, savour the romantic nostalgia of an old merry-go-round or the great variety on offer from the Prater caterers: from pickled gherkins to boiled beef.

The wonders of the heavens await you in the Planetarium. And in the Prater Museum you can re-live the greatest moments of this fun-fair. Incidentally: each booth in the Vienna Prater is an independent enterprise - which is why you don´t have to pay an admission charge to enter the Prater, and also why the various attractions in the Prater don´t have uniform opening times.

Opening times for most of the attractions in the Prater are from the beginning of March to the end of October - from morning to midnight. Some attractions (ghost trains and grotto railways, dodgems, cafes and restaurants) are open throughout the year. The Giant Ferris Wheel is open from February to November and around New Year´s. ]

Mother was mostly impressed about the layout of the table. First would be a large dinner plate and a soup plate on that. Soup would be served first, and the dinner plate was already warm to serve the dinner on. She copied that style for years.

In Vienna it was decided that I must have a new hat.

We went into this salon. I was shown quite a collection. Then I saw this beret with black spots on it.

It was the latest style, I looked so good. Then I realised the large polka dots were black. I could not possible wear black. Everyone would think I was a Hitler jungen. So they found one with brown spots. No! That was the Hitler jungen colour for their shirts. I made quite a fuss. I would found a green spotted one in the end.

But the young girl when she got out was very serious. She told me I should be very careful to let anyone know my opinions now. Those assistants could be Hitler jungen themselves and might report me and my whole family. People were taken to concentration camps. I didn’t care. I was loyal and true. I would rather die than wear a hat with Hitler’s colours. They did not seem very impressed with me. I don’t know even now to whom I was loyal. I think it must have been the club. They could keep their sausage rolls!

I didn’t know anything about Hitler, the people didn’t seem to like him and were frightened what would happen if he invaded Austria.

We knew no fears and at that time there was no mention that anything would happen to them.

But there was a stir, everyone listened to the wireless intently. Szubnik was killed and it seemed a great calamity. Who Szubnik was I did not know, but something dreadful was going to happen. [I can’t find anything when search for this name]

But life went on. We often went to the theatre. Richard Tauber was the great star of that time. Everyone was singing his songs. I think we went to see him in an operetta.


".......what is astonishing about Richard Tauber's art is exactly that it is by no means based on an outstanding, sumptuous natural vocal talent, but rather on the somnambulant sovereign usage of these vocal means,on a highly sensitive musicality, a hypnotic power of expression, and an infinitely inventive performance vision.........

........Richard Tauber was the greatest Mozart tenor of his time. Of his Don Ottavio on March 5th 1924 the critic of "Die Zeit" wrote "Tauber's performance reached its climax in Don Giovanni. It had never happened before that Don Ottavio, a figure who usually remains in the background, was received with such a storm of applause and that Don Giovanni himself should have been overshadowed." Of the same performance in "Die Deutsche Allgemeiner Zeitung":"He is the polished fine musician who not only knows his part, but the whole score,and creates from the complete ....... He sings the two arias incomparably; how he gives by the power of his cantilena at the end of the G major aria a soaring poised line to that baroque, octave leaping melody; how he fills the coloratura of the B flat major aria with dramatic life is quite unprecedented.".......
James Dennis, 1979]


A Russian troupe was on and we went to see them. I was fascinated by their dancing. The high leaps, and most of all I liked the dance where a dancer would crouch down and fling his legs out. I practised this dance for hours, holding myself between two chairs.

Soon I was able to do it without the chairs, I would do it anywhere - in the street, shops, in the street. Soon I became famous for my Russian dance. When I would go to the shop for my Mother I would be asked to perform. I would be given a handful of sweets, round chocolates with rum filled centres. Soon all the shops knew of my dancing and I was never short of sweets.

Hugs to all.


end of the year

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas.  To me its all about the children enjoying themselves.  I don't think they believe in Santa any more but they humour me along about the Christmas stockings, mince pie and sherry etc.

My sister, Chris, bought me some lovely pjs and matching slippers.  I look the biz now with all my finery going to bed instead of some old jogging bottoms and a tshirt.  Mmm, I think she hasn't admired my bedwear when we have been away together.  She also got me some lovely leather gloves, which I have promised I'll try not to lose this time but I won't be wearing them to bed!

I feel pretty relaxed now, having had a few days off work and I am lucky enough not to be back until next Tuesday, eeeek that is creeping up a bit quickly for my liking.  I am so relaxed I am almost horizontal, so must try to get back into my normal mode soon, e.g. waking up at a reasonable time and maybe getting dressed.

Today was a momentous day!  We finally paid our mortgage off.  Like many others, we were hit by endowment shortfall and had no-one to make a claim to because we bought through an independent adviser.  My sister was lucky as she bought direct from her building society and so got lots back.  Anyway, we were quite a bit short but the deed is done and it is a bit like Christmas, a bit of an anti-climax.  I remember the excitement the day we bought the house and it doesn't seem 20 years ago, the pay off date seemed so far away.  Beans on toast now for us for a few months.

We then went to my niece's place in Letchworth to give them their Christmas presents.  Her baby is 18 months old and very cute.  Matthew and Rosie are a very proud aunt and uncle.  It was a pleasant afternoon, she had made us a little party and her boyfriend had made his own homemade pickled onions which nearly blew my head off!

My nephew, Martin, has accepted a new job in Leeds, he will be going in a week or so.  We'll all miss him and I know its going to be a sad day for us all when he goes.  After my sister died he went travelling and I felt that I was bereaved again.  I hope I will be braver this time.  At least we'll have a bit more room in the cottage ... I wonder if he'll take all his stuff?

He will be back with his girlfriend, Julia, any time now this evening.  She is coming up for the next few days.  He drove up to Stafford yesterday to spend a day with her and drive back here together but I think he has to go to work tomorrow. Its a blimming long drive, too far for me, I just couldn't stand all that motorway. 

I hope that everyone had a good Christmas.  I know that some other journallers have lost family members or have some that are very sick and my heart goes out to them. 

Mum's memoirs will be posted on here ... I can't be bothered to have two journals on the go!



Friday, 15 December 2006

oooh I am so behind

Well, I am so far behind in everything!  I have loads of alerts to read and am slowly getting through.

Last week, we went to Pontins at Prestatyn for a long weekend.  Rosie had won a heat at Pontins Hemsby when we went in the Summer reciting "The Albert and Lion" which she had learned from one of our old cds.  She loves performing and was Joseph in her end of term play at primary.

Luckily my nephew, Martin, drove us to Prestatyn, I couldn't do that long drive .. it was bad enough going to Norfolk.  It was cold, windy and wet on the drive down.  The car was really crowded as Lisa, their older sister, was in the car as well (a small vw golf).  Her boyfriend was unfortunate enough to have an ingrown hair on his bottom and had to have an op to remove it the week before and wasn't well enough to drive there.  I knew it would make it really tight in Martin's car and wasn't keen on the children being so squashed but was worn down in the end by feeling guilty.  She kept phoning me and texting me, saying she wouldn't ask anything else, couldn't I drive so there would be lots of room etc., etc.  Hmmm.  I was surprised she could leave her boyfriend as he was feeling so poorly but she was determined to come, so what could I do.  She was good company though and we did have some good laughs with her.

We were also joined by Julia, Martin's girlfriend who lives in Stafford but she drove her own car down, so Lisa went with her (after 3 hours of squashing the kids).

Most of the kids were semi professional, all singing and all dancing.  I found it all very interesting though.  They had a few different age groups and Rosie was in the 11-14 group against 36 others.  There were lots of disco dancers in very exotic costumes and make up and some very talented singers.  I particularly liked one girl who sang "Where is Love" from Oliver.  She sang without music and her voice was really fabulous.  Her voice had maturity and had a wonderful tone.  She got through to the final heat with 5 others from the 11-14 age group and was the eventual winner of the group and she deserved it.  Rosie was disappointed not to get through to the grand final but was cheered up with her new wheelie roller skates, especially as there were lots of great places in Pontins for her to skate about on and get used to them.

We made a couple of trips into Rhyl.  The sea is so dramatic in the winter and I enjoyed watching the waves crashing against the promenade.  The weather was very windy and also freezing cold so no chance of a swim!

We found a lovely sheepskin rug for Paul which is twice the size of the one he presently has and he is really pleased with it.  It took a bit of persuading on my part to get Martin to bring it home directly with us instead of Julia bringing it when she is coming down here next but I did win in the end!  We also found a Liverpool football clock for my dear friend Audrey who lives over the road.  Its got the words "You'll never walk alone" and we know that she and her husband will love it, I can't wait to see their faces at Christmas.

We were walking down a street in Rhyl and Matthew found a wallet.  Luckily we found a police station just round the corner and although the wallet had no id on it, I hope the person who lost it thinks to check at the police station to see if it was handed in.

We got a taxi back to Pontins from Rhyl and I was chatting to the driver.  We had thought we would give Martin and Julia a little together time as they don't see each other that regularly being so far apart.

We had noticed speed camera signs everywhere once we had got into Wales but saw no speed cameras, so I asked the taxi driver about them.  Apparently they have these vans that go round, hiding round corners etc., and they take no prisoners.  Well, no chance of me ever breaking the speed limit in Wales or anywhere, so I'll be safe, ha ha!  As we got chatting she told me he worked closely with the local Police on the Stephen Lawrence project.  I believe this was the young boy who was killed by bullies in South London a few years ago.  This project is around for children who are a bit different than others and they get introduced to all people from different walks of life.  Anyway, this taxi driver told me that she was involved because she was diverse.  Then when I looked again, I realised she was a he dressed up as a she!  She was very pleasant and we did have a nice chat.  I told her about my gay friend and the time I had my working trip to Rio with him a few years ago (now, that is another story ..... and was very different to Pontins, oooh I still remember my hotel room overlooking Ipemema beach).  We both agreed that you can't judge a book by its cover and that it takes all sorts to make the world go round.

Saturday evening was very pleasant.  We watched x factor and then decided to have a sing song of our own.  Even the love birds joined in with London's burning and it was very uplifting!  We did a bit of frere jacque too but enjoyed London's burning the best.

On Sunday we were supposed to leave the apartment at 10 but as I was first up at 9.45 it simply didn't happen.  We eventually started moving towards home (after everyone went swimming at the local leisure centre) at 3pm!! 

We had a lovely time though and it was a nice experience except for the rubber covered mattress on my tiny single bed!

This week has been crazy, as I hadn't got hardly any presents sorted out and was feeling stressed.  Tonight I wrote out a few cards for the chaps that work with Paul.  I need desperately to do the cards for my family in Poland and get them sent off and must do it this weekend.  I had the day off work today and went out alone and managed to get quite a few presents sorted out for the family and have about 5 to get now. 

Tomorrow I am out all day on a coach trip to Thursford in Norfolk.  I think its a Christmas market and a Christmas show.  We leave at 9am and get back about 10pm.  I booked it months ago and didn't how near it was to Christmas and having gone away last weekend too it has really cut my time down for getting things done.  I am sure we'll all enjoy it though.  We have loads of goodies to eat on the trip, including some rather nice Strawberry tarts!

Take care everyone.





Saturday, 2 December 2006

Memories of our first visit to Poland

I thought I'd write a bit more about our visit to Poland, the land of my mother and my father and indeed all my relatives.  I have gained a family that I was not really aware of and have also developed a deeper sense of patriotism.  My Polish has improved a bit too!

Our family could not have been more welcoming.  Our cousin, Iza, met us at the airport in Warsaw.  She was with her husband, Darek, and daughter, Klaudyna.  We were all presented with roses to welcome us, even Peter. it was very touching.  Also, I had forgotten the Polish custom of three kisses on greeting!  My dad used to do it when meeting Polish friends.  Polish men kiss each other when greeting each other. We really got into the swing of the kissing by the time our visit to Poland was over.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, I must say.  My brother said he had enjoyed it so much he would start kissing my husband, Paul, every time they met when we got home.  When we had first contacted the Bialystok family to say we were coming, they insisted Cousin Iza would meet us at the airport to guide us to the train station.  We thought we would just meet up and have a coffee.

My sister, Christine, got into Iza's little car whilst my brother Peter, Rosie and myself got into the car with Darek and Klaudyna and we left the airport and got our first sight of the city of Warsaw.  It felt so strange to be in Poland.  The city was not unlike the Paris streets.  Little kiosks everywhere selling cigarettes, magazines etc.  Quite wide roads.  They also have a tram service, which was quite fascinating. 

As we drove through to the outskirts of Warsaw, I was surprised when they told us we were not going to the railway station but they were taking us back to their house for a meal.  We really did not expect that.

Whilst we were driving it was strange to see many blocks of flats with washing flapping in the wind.  I don't remember seeing any normal houses.  Just many, many, blocks of flats.

We arrived at my cousin's block of flats.  It looked grim from the outside but when we went up the stairs and entered the flat, it was lovely and bright and modern and had quite large rooms.  They had a wonderful balcony which looked out to woodland.  In the living room was a table beautifully laid out, with lovely crystal glasses and the finest china.  She hadmade us all our favourite Polish dishes,

My cousin and her family treated us like royalty.  I have never felt so welcome anywhere in my life.

my lovely cousin Iza and her husband, Darek

Heres a picture of the lovely Iza and her sweet husband Darek. 

He is a baker and they both work very hard in their business.  He leaves at 4 a.m. every day and doesn't get home until late.  We had some of his beautiful cakes and by the time we had eaten all they wanted us to, we could hardly move. 

It was such a shame my Polish was bad and I couldn't say too much to them both, but I do know how to say thank you.  Luckily Chris remembered a lot of her Polish, I was so proud of her.  Klaudyna, their daughter, was very fluent in English.  I did manage to tell Klaudyna that she had very nice windows, when I meant that she had very nice eyes!  Oche and ocne are very similar, thats all I'll say in my defence.  That caused a real laugh and I don't think I'll live that down.

We had such a connection with them and made arrangements that we would meet up again on our way back after visiting Bialystok before going to the airport for our flight home.

One thing I should mention is that the Pope died just before our visit to Poland.  We arrived in Warsaw the day before his funeral.  Here's a picture of some of the lights we saw.  This was taken in the old town of Warsaw.  These lights were everywhere and it was quite eerie the night we arrived to see them all and everyone out in the streets standing around.



Well, after all this feasting and bonding, we were then taken to the railway station by our cousins and they did not leave us until we were safely on the train to Bialystok! 

Our next adventure was about to begin.

Here's Chris with Cioca (auntie) Lila and Cousin Lila at our second feast of the day.  Doesn't my sister look like my cousin!

Chris, Auntie Lila and Cousin Lila

Our first visit to our cousin's house

More to come on our visit to Bialystok.

Hope you enjoyed this entry.


Terry x

Sunday, 26 November 2006

My Dad

Well here I am again, trying to post this but keep crashing.  I thought I'd let you all see a picture of my Daddy and his family.  We were sent this by my cousin, Lila, just before we made our journey and were thrilled to get it as we had never seen it before.  My granny (babcia) is on the left.  Then Jadja (Jadwiga) is next to her with baby, Halina, on her lap.  Then there is little Arcadeuz and then my Daddy!  Auntie Lila had not yet been born.

Jadwiga was a full sister to my Dad.  She died whilst my Dad was still alive, I know he was very sad that he had never seen her again after he left Poland with the Polish Air Force.  I was both amazed and touched when I visited my Cousin Lila, her daughter, that she had letters that my father had written her and that she still treasured them.

Its sad really but I don't remember my Dad telling us much about the family in Poland.  He died when I was 17, which was very shocking.

He used to love to play chess.  He even played chess against others on the telephone.  We'd lie in bed upstairs and it would be all quiet and then you'd hear a voice saying "Rook to Pawn 2" or something like that.  He even played chess on the day he died.  He was up London, playing at the Polish YMCA in a league when he collapsed with a heart attack.  He was taken to St Mary's in Paddington but before we got there, he had gone.  It was such a terrible shock to us all and we were devasted.  I remember the night so well.  Paul wasn't well and I had just started going out with him, so I had gone to his parents house and we were watching the Eurovision Song Contest.  The phone went and it was my ex brother in law telling us that Daddy had taken ill.  We lived in Edmonton at the time, so I dashed home and then caught a cab up to London with my ex brother in law.  As soon as I walked through the doors of the hospital I saw my brother, Peter.  He was only 13 and he walked towards me and I knew.  We came home by cab and my sister, Barb and I climbed into bed with mummy.  Mummy wouldn't call our sisters, Andrea and Christine.  She said we'll wait until the morning, let them have a good night's sleep.

Daddy and his family

Its been 34 years but I still miss my Daddy.

Hugs.  Terry



Saturday, 18 November 2006


Ohhh I did lots of explanations about this... and just lost it.  Hopefully, this time I'll get it posted.

Last year, for the first time, my sister Christine, Rosie and my brother Peter all visited Poland for the very first time.  As you know, I have Polish parents who are both dead.  My dad, Joseph, otherwise known as Zuik, died in 1972, aged 61.  Daddy met Mummy during the war and never went back to Poland.  His mother came over in 1957 but didn't get on with my Mum, so never came again.

There are a few little strange things about daddy, like his real name, which he never told us about.  I don't know the reason.  It was very strange being given his old Scout certificates with this name that we had never really known him by.  We can't understand the reason for the secrecy.  My mum only told me about it a few years before she died.  This was another thing she didn't share with my sisters or brother.  I told them after she had died.  Why all these secrets??  Even after our visit to Poland we couldn't seem to get to the bottom of it.

It was absolutely wonderful meeting our Polish relatives.  His sister lives in Bialystok, very near to the train station, and she was the main one we were going to visit as she had always written to us, despite hardly ever getting a reply from me.  My Polish is very bad although Christine can speak quite a bit,  I suppose when she was younger it was spoken in the home but as we came along, mainly English was used.  Words can't really describe the feelings we had as we finally made this trip to Poland.  Why hadn't we been before?  I think mainly due to lack of money. 

I will write more about this.  In the meantime though, now I have got the hang of this posting pictures malarky,  I am posting on a picture of my Auntie Lila and her wonderful picture that hangs in her hallway.  Let me know what you think of this painting.  I found it absolutely fascinating.

One more thing.  When we visited the cemetary to see my grandmother's grave, Auntie Lila took us to see her husband's grave.  We were shocked to see her name already enscribed on it.  She explained that all that needed doing was putting on the date of her death ..... eeeeeeek!  We tried to explain about Scrooge and him seeing his gravestone ... it was all a bit lost in translation.


Now to get on a bit and stop messing about on here!!

Catch you later.

Terry x


Putting pictures on

Oh gawd!  I know I only did this a couple of weeks ago and in the end managed to do it with photobucket but I have completely forgotten how to do it and can't do it .... argh.

So, please can someone give me the idiot's guide on how to make pictures appear!  Its got to be simple, I seem to have a mental block on this.

Rosie has discovered my old keyboard this morning.  I got it years ago and taught myself to play a few tunes and learned a few cords.  I only got as far as book 1 before I lost interest.  I never seemed to get my rhythmn right!  She is now making a god awful noise and is driving her older brother, Martin, mad.  Paul has disappeared off to work, he got fed up too.

She got ok at the hospital yesterday.  The tooth they were concerned about is laying across the bottom of her gum and not in a position to come out of it!  They think her baby tooth is strong enough and so we will leave best alone because if they do operate to try to get it out, it is near the nerve that could cause paralysis of her lip.  Now, we will have to start the brace procedure off for her twisted front tooth.  As you know, the NHS stopped funding for any braces except for very extreme cases, so we will have to find a lot of money for this.  It will be worth it though.  I think we can pay monthly for it.

Matthew went off to camp last night.  It was pouring with rain all day and he is camping!  I have sent him off with lots of clothes to change into and loads of waterproofs.  The good thing is that the sun is shining here today, so hopefully the kit won't come back too muddy (hmm, I bet it does anyway).  He has gone to a place called Phasels Wood.  Here is the link.  I bet he'll be having a wonderful time and come home exhausted tomorrow.

Martin has been offered a job in Leeds.  Oh, we are going to miss him if he goes.  I am trying not to be selfish and not think of good reasons to be negative about it.  He went travelling 3 years ago and came home after 4 months as he missed us all so much, so I hope he decides not to take it and look for a better job round here.  His work are considering whether to make him a better offer, so watch this space.

Anyway, off to do a few jobs. 

Take care everyone.

Terry x


Friday, 17 November 2006

Mummy's Memoirs

I have made a decision.  Sounds like x factor!  I am going to create a new journal to put the rest of Mum's memoirs in.  She deserves her own space in journal land.  I'll be doing this soon and will let you know the link.  This week my sister, Chris, found some more of mum's writings which I will have to type up too, ooh nothing like keeping busy.

Off to the hospital now for Rosie's teeth!

Catch you later.


Thursday, 16 November 2006


Tonight we made our way with trepidation to Rosie's school for her first open evening.

We had a heck of a job getting Rosie into the school of her dreams.  Much was made in the October of going round all the secondary schools in our area on their open evenings and listening to their virtues etc.  We let Rosie choose the school she would like to go to on the premise that if she did get the school she wanted to go to, she would work hard there.

It was terrible in March this year when we heard that Rosie had not got the school of her choice and we had to tell her.  It was even worse when she went to school the next day and found she was the only one in her class of 30 pupils that didn't get her first choice.  In fact, she was allocated her third choice which was a school outside our area which we only put down because we didn't think she would ever get placed at it.  Poor Rosie was so upset, she came out in a rash all over her body, she really felt the odd one out at school because everyone else was so happy they had got the school place they had wanted.  It was a very difficult time.

It took a couple of months, preparing appeal submissions and going on a waiting list before we found out that she had managed to achieve her place.  Hooray.  Her older brother and I hid up the new school with a poster saying Congratulations and Paul drove her up and we jumped out and surprised her.  That was a lovely evening after the disappointment and tears a few months earlier,

I am pleased to say that she is doing great in everything except French, where she seems to have une major bloc!!!  The French teacher told me that she thinks perhaps Rosie may not be linguistic ... hmm I disagree big time and told her about the couple of trips we have made to Poland where Rosie has picked up a lot of the language very quickly.  Maybe I will take Rosie to Paris and that may awaken her interest in learing to speak the language of love.  The French teacher was very nice, she seemed concerned that Rosie may not like her.  Rosie just doesn't like French!

I don't consider myself as a pushy parent but really would like Rosie to do well.  She came out of primary school with 5s in maths and science and a 4 in English.  The maths and science results were a surprise to us and to her, so she has got ability there which I hope she will use.  Paul thinks I am pushy but I really do try not to be.

Rosie was at home really worrying ... we arrived home with Chinese and donuts to celebrate her efforts. 

Matthew is getting ready for another scout weekend, leaving tomorrow for an adventure centre.  I have unpicked and sewn all the blimming badges (15 of them) onto his new shirt this week.  I have gone out today and got yet more gloves (apparently his old ones were thrown on the fire by "Sam" last week).  Tomorrow I will go and get a few chocolate goodies for him to take, he loves chocolate fingers!  We have the kit all over the room but will pack it up tomorrow when he gets back from school.

One of his front teeth is still longer than the other, guess who got the appointment wrong!  He will be having it done next week.  He came home today with a photo taken last week at school still a la braces (still speaking French here after my meeting with the French teacher tonight), it will be nice to see next year to compare the smile and the teeth looking perfect!

Off now.  Take care.


Sunday, 12 November 2006

Nice weekend/Dentists

Matthew had his brace off on Friday!!!  After 3 years it is nice to see his teeth again.  A couple of years ago, he chipped his front tooth and the repair held until about a week or so, when it broke off.  The repair had to wait until the brace was off, so Paul took him to the dentist to get the repair done after the brace was off, first thing on Friday.  I was shocked to see that the repair has been done but the tooth looks shorter than his other tooth - can you believe it!  I went crazy.  I just can't believe the dentist could be so lazy.  Anyway, he is going back on Wednesday and he will have matching front teeth if it kills me!

Rosie is going to the hospital on Friday because she has a tooth growing at an angle through her bottom gum.  I hope they can do something for her without an op.  It is not causing her any probs at the moment.  I only found out about it when we took her about her brace for her twisted front tooth (which they refused her for under their new guidelines and which will cost us £1300 to have done).  Its ridiculous that she would have to walk around with this twisted tooth for the rest of her life due to their cut backs and new guidelines.  Apparently, they only see kids once a year now for dental check ups instead of every 6 months.

We have had a nice relaxing weekend.  Matthew went off to scouts yesterday and they had a day in London, visiting the London Dungeons and HM Belfast.  They camped out last night and we have to pick him up soon after the Remembrance service. 

Rosie and I met up with an old friend of mine, Laura and her son Brad, who is about the same age as Rosie.

I met Laura years ago in Greece down a long road in the middle of nowhere, looking for a hotel where we had our welcome meeting.  She was only young then, about 19 and was with her friend Jackie.  We were in our 30s.  Anyway, we got chatting and I remembered seeing her and her friend on the plane.  We arranged to meet up for an evening and it was the start of a long friendship with Laura.  She was telling us the first time we met her that she wasn't interested in a holiday romance but by the end of the holiday she had met a chap from oop North and could hardly bear it when he left a couple of days before her.  It was quite exciting and romantic.  He met her at Gatwick and off they went for more loving at a hotel near her home.  By the time the following week came she upped sticks and left to go back up North with him.  He was a bit older than her but really seemed a nice man.  Ahh, it would be lovely if they were still together wouldn't it but it all went wrong after about a year and he decided he didn't want to go on with it.  She came home broken hearted and then met Steve, who is great and has settled down with him and had Brad.  Shes a great girl, a great laugh and if you heard her laugh you'd be on the floor, its really infectious.

Anyway, we went off shopping to Welwyn, Laura drove, she is a better parker than I am in tight spaces!  I got Matthew a new scout shirt from John Lewis, poor Matthew is still wearing his old one from when he was 10 and it is getting very short on the arms now.  I now have to sew all the blimming badges on this new one from the old one - ooooh.  Rosie had a couple of pairs of earring studs from Argos because she is always losing them and because she got a fairly good report from her new school she had some money to spend.  She decided to buy the latest Jacqueline Wilson book.  She loves her books.  We saw Jacqueline Wilson at an evening at our local theatre.  She had so many big silver rings on all of her fingers and so many bracelets it was a wonder she could lift her arms up when she spoke.  A very eccentric looking lady.

So, we got home at about 5ish and settled down for a lovely evening in front of the telly.  Xfactor is our favourite but we have to fight Paul for control of the telly, so we can watch it.  We always hope he'll drop off to sleep and if he does then we creep across grab the tv plodder and make merry with it! 

We have all been lazy this morning.  I got up at about 7 and dropped off again on the sofa, bliss!  We have all just had our toastie things, me and Rosie had spag hoops with toast and Paul was a more sedate cheese on toast.  I love Sundays!!!  Better get dressed now though and get on with getting things ready for the week.

Catch you later.

Terry x

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Part 9 - Mummy's Memoirs

Part 9 - two chapters today!  Hope you enjoy.  Mother wrote the little titles ...


One day I went out into the yard, it was a beautiful day.

I looked across the yard and saw the woman who lived in the house opposite putting big plates of pies on the window. They were open pies with lovely purple coloured berries in them. I went over and asked her what they were. Through the open window she told me they were mulberries. I rushed back home. Mother had to make a mulberry pie. They looked and smelled wonderful. Mother would not make mulberry pies, she did not believe in it. In Poland no-one ever ate mulberries, terrible idea.

So I went back to the open window with the pies cooling on the ledge. I got talking to the lady. Told her how lovely they looked. What a wonderful cook she was. My mother was too ill to make any I told her. If I had a pie like that I would lick the plate so clean it would not even need washing.

So she gave me a small one on a saucer. I thought she was rather mean, she had so many big ones on dinner plates.

But something was better than nothing.

The first taste tasted a little sour with a bitter taste to it. That was because I was not used to it. It would soon taste as good as it looked. But it didn’t! It tasted worse. But I could not let the lady down. I told her I’d never tasted anything so good.

After eating half of it I thought I’d be sick. When she turned her back, I put the saucer with the half eaten pie back on the window and ran.

I avoided her like the plague after that. I thought she’d do something dreadful to me for not eating it and she had to was the plate after all!

The Great Seduction

One day Mother sent me to that house to tell a woman upstairs she wanted to see her about something.

The woman said would I stay with her little boy who was about 4 years old while she went across. I readily agreed. The boy had lots of toys all over the floor and I was eager to play with them.

S soon as the woman was out of the house, the boy said we must play mothers and fathers. I said ok, he’d be father and I’d be mother. H e said we must undress like mothers and fathers do and get into bed naked. I had on a maroon coloured woollen dress. It pricked me all over. I would have gladly taken it off but I was scared. I remembered the other boy and I could not bear it. He started to take off his clothes. I went to the door but it would not open! We had been locked in!

I tried to stop him taking off his clothes - I didn’t want to play mothers and fathers. But he took no notice of me. He took off every stitch.

I covered my face with my hands not to see him.

I took a look and he was showing me his horrible thing. Then the door opened and his mother came in! She took one look - and went mad - he said I had asked him to take off his clothes. I ran out.

I went for a long walk trying to forget the horror of it all.

When I came back home, Mother pounced! What had I been up to? Hold could I? I cried and cried and for once she somehow believed me. It took a long time for me to get over it and I would not go to that side of the block for anything.

Have a nice Saturday.

Terry x

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

the drunken secretary

Well, heres an update on the drunken secretary.

God, I must have sounded really bitchy in my entry about her but I must be honest, I couldn't wait to get into work on Monday to see what would be occurring!

So, I mosied in on time at 9.15 and she was already there sitting at her desk.  As soon as the rest of my little group were in she approached us.  We were shocked to the core when she apologised to us all for letting us down and just kept saying, sorry, sorry.  Despite her previous horrid ways, I felt sorry for her.  It took her a lot to do that I know, especially in view of her previous behaviour to some of the girls in my group.  She obviously had had a terrible weekend, worrying about what would happen because it is a sackable offence.  Shes lucky really that we are all nicer than she is because none of us would split on her to the group manager, who was away on Friday.  I still can't believe she was so stupid to do that.  I think she has smoothed it over with her boss too but has ruined her credibility. 

Today was lovely.  My boss had a broken engagement last year.  It was very sudden just a few months before she was due to get married.  It was really out of the blue but consequently she found out that there were a lot of issues going on with him and he did her the biggest favour.  We were all so upset with her at the time because it was such a shock the way it ended.  Anyway, she went on a dating website, one of those where your friends write your profile for you and she has found the loveliest of chaps.  I think he was the only one she ever met up with.  Today 6 red balloons saying "I love you" and a wonderful bouquet of  flowers arrived for her, marking their 6 month anniversary.  Ahhh.   I had to go to reception to collect them because she was out when they arrived.  I must say I felt pretty damm special carrying the "I love you" balloons and flowers back downstairs, people in the lift that didn't know me, giving me curious looks that I was so loved carrying all this booty.  I told those that knew me that I had a secret admirer, so I enjoyed the moment too.  I am hoping that her new chap will propose soon!  It all looks very promising.  She is the nicest of persons and I really like her.

Just to let you know that Billy is doing well.  He went back to the Vet today and they sayto call on Friday to let them know how he is doing.  I felt a right twerp phoning them yesterday, as they had asked us to do last week as the receptionist didn't seem that interested and didn't appear to be making notes.  Perhaps I should make it more interesting when I call on Friday.  He is still doing little snuffles but nothing as bad as this time last week. 

Catch you later.

Terry x

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Our week

Well this has been a funny week, ups and down because of Billy not being well but enjoyable times, such as when we went out trick and treating.  Work has been absolutely manic and there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.  We don't get any temp cover when one of us is away and it causes a lot more work for the rest of us, argh. 

Yesterday a girl I really don't like came back to the office as drunk as a lord.  It was nice to see her like that, tee hee!! What a bitch I am.  She is not a very nice person and has really been very nasty about some people I work with directly to their bosses, most of her comments were untrue and made just because she has a nasty nature.  You say good morning to her and she just scowls back, what a waste of time, eh?  Some of the others have said how nice she is outside the office ...  hello???? So .... I wonder what will happen on Monday.  She went to lunch at 1 and didn't come back until about 5!  It was someone's 50th and she and another girl just went and didn't come back.  We were so manic I didn't notice until her boss started carrying on and made one of the other girls call her to get back to the office.  Couldn't have happened to a better person. 

Today I must go and get Matthew's hair cut as he looks like a yeti.  He has a few nice things coming up with Scouts.  They are off to London next week to the London Dungeons and a camp out that night before the Remembrance Parade on Sunday.  He  normally comes home very grouchy after these camp outs because the other boys don't let him sleep and once he decides he has to sleep he hates being disturbed.  Mind you, he still goes because he likes all the other things they do.  Then the following weekend he is off to an adventure camp with them.  Today I must go and get a head torch for him .... one more thing to lose, eh!

I have booked up to go to the Joseph and his Amazing Dream Coat singalong in Leicester Square on the 19th.  The tickets include a dinner afterwards at Ruby Blue, a restaurant nearby.  Rosie played Joseph in her last school play, so this is something she'll really enjoy.  We have done the Sound of Music singalong before and really enjoyed that.  I dressed the kids up, Rosie was a nun and Matthew was a brown paper package wrapped up in string.  They both won prizes and looked really sweet.  Don't know if I'd be able to get Matthew to dress up now he is 13.

Off to get some coffee into my system!

Terry x


Mummy's Memoirs, Part 8

Heres Part 8, enjoy.

The Reluctant Bather

One day it was very cold, I came home from school and Mother was not at home. I was quite pleased, I mooched around. Then I thought I will wash the floor for her. She’d be so thrilled.

The floors were bare boards. Continuously scrubbed so they were very white. I got the bucket and water, scrubbing brush, soap and water.

It was nice splashing the water on the floor and scrubbing, pressing the brush into the soap and scrubbing. After a while I got tired of it. I hadn’t finished the room but even then Mother should be pleased that I had helped her.

But Mother did not come. I went around to her friends. No Mother, where was she So I walked into the town looking for her. On the way home I passed the outdoor swimming pool.

She was nowhere else, she must be in there.

So I went to the cash desk and asked had they seen Mrs Robak? They didn’t know Mrs Robak but they would call her. I heard a loud tinny voice repeating over and over again “Mrs Robak please come to the cash desk”. Mother did not come. She must be dead. I had searched everywhere.

I returned home and thee was Mother as mad at me as ever. My floor washing job was the cause. I had put so much water on the floor it had run through the ceiling into the flat below. I was sorry and miserable and cried.

Mother was even crosser when she found out that she had been called over the tannoy in the swimming baths. The shame of it. People would stop and ask her if we had any trouble, to be summonsed over the loud speaker in the swimming baths, was someone ill? Accident?

All the nasty busybodies could keep nothing to themselves. I thought.

After all, she might have just been there. Been drowned and no-one would have known if I had not gone there. But she was not to be convinced. If she was out when I came home, I must stay home quietly. Not announce to the whole town she was not there to look after me. What were people thinking of her?

She was a respectable woman. The whole town knew she had been summonsed in the swimming baths. She would never live down the disgrace etc., etc. I could not understand it. You’d think she’d been out and got drunk. The scarlet woman of Berndorff, Mother! No fun in her. She didn’t even know how to swim.

I told her how frightened I had been that I had not been able to find her.That pacified her and she took a ball out of her bag. She had been to Winer neustadt to hospital for an examination. They had told he she had a slipped intestine, that’s why she was always constipated.

The Dentist

In school one day there was great excitement, the dentist was coming around to see our teeth. We were lined up in the corridor along the large windows in a row. The dentist came along inspecting the children’s teeth. When he reached me I was told to open my mouth wide, then he said “Look at that bird”, I looked - he put his pliers into my mouth and pulled out a tooth! How could I have been fooled like that!

One day I had been tormenting my Mother to let me out on the sledge but she would not let me go.

Father came home from work and announced he was going to the dentist. At once I had a toothache! I must go too.

So we got dressed, and on the sledge we went to the dentist.

When we reached the dentist’s house I got quite frightened.

I climbed the cement steps slowly. Outside the front door there was a scraper for shoes. I scraped and scraped mine until Father got impatient, so I had to go in with him.

The smell in the house was awful! I started to panic, I did not have a toothache anymore. But Father said the dentist must look at it and it would be better to have it out.

We sat down. I was feeling sick! We sat there - I wanted to go to the toilet. Father asked the receptionist where it was and I crept out of the waiting room, straight through the front door and only stopping to collect my sledge - I was off. I went through the town and into the hills.

I stayed there as long as I could. My feet were soaking with the snow coming over my Wellingtons.

When I arrived home I had to bend over the chair again.

I was whacked until I promised I would never do it again.

Father had been so ashamed - waiting for me to come back from the toilet and then to find I had run away. The dentist had been so shocked to think Father possessed such a naughty child. Father would never be able to, through him embarrassment, have his teeth seen to because of me.

Of course I had to some more chair bending.

I always used to be in trouble with them. About that time my mania for washing myself started.

I noticed one day after they forced me to wash myself how good I looked after the wash.

I was so impressed at the improvement of myself “before and after”! The mirror hung on the wall just above the stool where the wash basin was, so I was able to observe myself. I repeated the experiment. It worked.

When I used to be out to play I’d go straight to the mirror. I looked awful. Sometimes I didn’t even recognise myself. This hideous looking thing, me! I’d get the water in the bowl and wash furiously and coming out of the towel I’d look at the effect - it was me - all clean. It was amazing the difference it made “before and after”. When I was clean everyone would be so nice to me. If I came home all puffed out with running, Mother would be all nasty and sneering. I’d look in the mirror, no wonder. My face was black, sweat running in streaks down my forehead.

After a magical wash I’d let mother catch a glimpse of the beautiful vision that had been submerged under the dirt and she seemed to soften, be nice to me = so I had found the secret of my success until Mother realised that after a wash I looked better than her.

When visiting with Mother, as soon as I’d get in the house I’d realised people weren’t talking to me, just talking with Mother or if Father was there - Father.

Of course I knew what the trouble was - I was dirty. So I’d go up to mother trying to tell her I must go and wash She wouldn’t take any notice, just kept on talking - talking and talking!!

I’d touch her on her hand, trying to get her to notice I was trying to talk to her, the more I pressed the more bangs I’d get. I knew that she knew that I was there, her eye was watching me from the corner but she would still pretend I was invisible. But of course the people we were visiting would eventually become aware that mother wasn’t quite with them with all the knocks she was giving me. So they would try to find out what I wanted. Being very shy and modest it took some time for me to confess that I must have a wash.

Mother’s face would turn terrible. She’d give me one of her most searing looks. “You wash when we get home” and the more she’d try to stop me, the more the hosts would insist on granting me my wish.

I’d wash, the ice would be broken. Everyone would agree what an angel I was. No other child ever wanted a wash. I was petted and praised by everyone except Mother, who would pretend she was impressed too - but giving me all the time those hard flinty, glittering looks I knew so well, already anticipating what to expect as soon as we were out of the house. She wouldn’t forget either . I’d try to forget all about it, hoping if I put it out of my mind she was bound to forget. No matter how long we stayed, how happy she seemed with the people, it all came back to her the moment we were left in each other’s company.

I’d be forewarned what would happen when we’d go visiting I was to keep quiet. No washing! If I was asked to take something twice - cakes etc., I must refuse. People must not think that just because I was as skinny as a scarecrow that I was not fed. One cake only and no washing. People would think we had nowhere to wash or too poor to buy soap. But of course the moment we were in I’d feel dirty and of course things would take their natural course as always with me. Washing - eating more than one cake - bends over the chair when we got in.

I’d cry myself to sleep, dying to get up to wash in case someone saw me with all the tearstains on my face. The house might burn down and I’d be found dirty.


Mum always loved washing and looking nice, she was never without her lipstick and powder.  I still have her last make up bag with all her bits in it.


Thursday, 2 November 2006

Billy and good news

My boy is home.  He is still a bit snuffly but is sooooo much better. He has lots of medication for his nose infection but they have found nothing wrong with his chest.  I have been busy cuddling him and he is glad to be home.  He is not back to his naughty self yet but hopefully will be soon.  I have put on a picture of him, he is old but bold.  He'll be 10 soon and is a bit blind but still can see enough to get into lots of mischief when he is ok. 

Thanks so much for all the comforting messages.


Wednesday, 1 November 2006


I had to be at work today so I made an appointment for Billy for this afternoon but Paul took him earlier as his breathing was worse.  They have done some chest xrays which are clear but he has a bad infection in his nose which they say they have never as bad before.  It could be linked to his prostrate and they are doing more tests tomorrow.  Meanwhile his white cells are high. They have kept him in overnight and I am in tears!  Thanks for all your kind words, I'll keep in touch.

Terry x

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

My dog, Billy

My little yorkie has a runny nose and is sneezing and snuffling.  He sometimes makes little snorting noises anyway but this time he seems like he has a full on cold, I am so worried.  It started Monday but seemed a lot worse when I got home from work last night.  Paul is taking him to the vet for me as I have to go to work today.  He is walking about ok and going out as normal and doing his business and eating his favourite treats.  Please keep your fingers crossed this is nothing too serious as he is 10 years old and my baby.

Terry x

Friday, 27 October 2006

Mummy's Memoirs Part 7

Here is Part 7, I hope you enjoy the read.

Grapes were grown all round Berndorff. At the end of summer the grapes would be harvested. In each village they would have a wine feast on different Sundays.

People would go to the selected village and there would be a fair and a market. The beer houses would be in full swing.

I loved the lottery best of all. It was like bingo. In the fair field a large platform was raised and above a large board with numbers coming up. Father would buy me a ticket for about sixpence. I had tremendous luck. I won little prizes but I also won for my father a bicycle, a sack of flour and a large ham.

But one rainy Sunday I got into trouble.

I had been down to the station. It was a new place to explore. Hunting around looking for anything worth finding I cam across a pair of clippers. Clippers for punching holes in tickets. I took them home, secretly using them only when Mother was not there. I knew she would not let me keep them. So I hid them from her.

When the weather was bad they liked going to bed on a Sunday afternoon. I did not want to waste my time going to bed. So I mooched around until I remembered my clippers.

I got them out and found quite a lot of things to make holes in but the trouble was I had to pick up the little rounds of paper that the clippers ejected.

So I left the apartment - I could not go out it was raining hard. I looked through the hall window hoping someone was out and as I did not mind the rain I would go and play with them. But there was no-one around.

All I could see were rows of potted plants people had put in the yard to catch the rain. I got a nice big leaf and pressed my clippers. It was even nicer to punch crisp leaves than paper. I thought the people would be quite pleased to find holes in a pattern on the leaves. They looked very unusual. They’d say, who made our flowers so pretty.

So I punched on to make everyone happy. Then I realised I was getting too wet. I would have to abandon my task, although there were still a lot of the plants left undone but if they found me wet there would be trouble.

Not long after I’d crept home and dried myself a knock came to the door. I opened it and there stood a group of women all looking cross. They wanted to see my mother. So I called Mother but Mother not speaking German got father out of bed too. The women were very nasty. I had been seen doing something to the flowers. I confessed under the duress of Mother’s shrieking and beating.

Father promised full restoration. So they got dressed and we trudged to the nursery and father bought similar flowers to the ones I had damaged. Mother took the damaged flowers and gave the owners the new flowers. One of the plants lived for about 20 years. My clippers were confiscated.

Mother was even nastier to me than usual. She would find fault with me the whole time. Once walking along a road I made her angry about something, so I ran away from her, she chased me. Across the road there was a barrier down across a railway line. It was two poles held together with lengths of ropes.

I climbed the barrier, the train having passed the barrier shot up and I was lifted with it high in the air.

Mother went wild. “Come down you little so and so”. I would not come down. After more threats and shrieking I promised to come down if she would not smack me. So she gave way, she would not smack me if I got down.

As soon as I reached the ground she pounced on me, slapping me all over. I got away from her, crying I shrieked I would take a knife to bed with me and kill myself with it.

Worse was still to come. When father came home he was told all about it. I had to bend over the chair, he took off his leather belt and gave me a stinging whack!

“Are you going to take the knife to bed with you and kill yourself?”.

“Yes, yes” and for every “yes” I got another one.

In the end I had to give in. I would not take the knife to bed with me.

“That’s what they think, I’ll show them”. I would take it this very night. They’d be sorry to find me all covered in blood and dead. Then they’d know it was all their fault.

But they watched me. I couldn’t get hold of a knife.

Now thinking about it, I can’t imagine why I had to it in bed, or anywhere else. I suppose doing it in bed was more dramatic.

Still things would go wrong. Mother once sent me to the butchers for beef. I looked at the counter and saw some beautiful red meat. When I gave the assistant my order she picked up some darkish nasty looking stuff. “No” I did not want that meat. I wanted the lovely red meat. So she weighed it up for me and I took it thinking how pleased Mother would be. What a clever shopper I was.

Mother opened the packet, looked at it and said “What’s this, this isn’t beef, this is horse flesh, take it backand get me beef. I can’t eat horseflesh. Horseflesh is only for the gypsies”. She packed it up shouting her head off. I tried to explain how lovely it was. It must be good. Better than the brownish stuff. She should try it, she would find out how lovely it was.

But she was adamant! Back it must go. I walked back to the butchers slowly. I was too scared to tae it back. Supposing they wouldn’t take it!

In the end I crept back to the shop, so humiliated I could hardly talk. The assistant didn’t seem surprised and to my relief she changed it without a word - whereas I had expected her to attack me too as Mother had done.

At school we were taken swimming into the open air swimming pool. I loved it. I found out you could go anytime but you had to pay. It was very difficult to get money out of Mother! Swimming - swimming what do you need swimming for? I have never been swimming and I am still alive. I had a money box, so I would put the knife in and rattle it and the money would slide down the knife and into my hand. Off I’d be. I couldn’t yet swim, so I would walk around the shallow end lowering myself in the water and pretend I was swimming. People would be walking around too. The latest style in swimming costumes was just one strap on the shoulder, the other would be left off hanging loose. I wore my strap down too - being very modern, wearing the latest fashion.

Then one day when my money box unbeknown to my parents was nearly empty, I was standing in the queue at the turnstile and I heard a boy say “I am with the school” and he was let in without paying. From that time on I was always “with the school”.

The money box raid was discovered. I did my bending over the chair but I had found a way to carry on with my swimming.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Terry x

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

A poem for my friend/Dentist

I have told you before about my dear friend Mary and how much I miss her.  A little while after she died I found this poem and it still sums up how I feel about her.  I found the scrap of paper I wrote it on tonight, I don't know who wrote it but I like it, so I thought I'd share it.

Once in a while you find a friend whos your friend right from the start

Once in a while the friendship's so strong it really warms your heart

Once in a while that friendship lasts your whole lifetime through

It only happens once in a while. Like it happened with me and you.

I am lucky that I have other good friends but she has left a big gap.

Anyway, onwards and upwards to more cheerful things.  I am off to another wedding this weekend.  Its a lovely girl I work with who is getting married in Surrey. 

Paul will stay home to look after Matthew and Rosie and I will be going on this adventure alone!  We have decided to book into a hotel for the night of the wedding, so I will get myself up early on Saturday to drive there.  The AA routemaster says it should take 1 hour and 20 mins, I think I will double that.  I always get lost and don't drive very quickly - I am a real weekend driver.  East Grinstead 'ere I come! 

The wedding is being held at a big country house hotel and I am sure we are going to have a great time.  No, I am not staying there as it is £175 a night to do that.  I am in the cheapie up the road.  There are a few others from work going, so I am sure we will have a great time together.

We are being very dental in this house at the moment.  Matthew is due to have his braces off next week, with a follow up the week after.  He has worn them for 3 years now and its very excited.  He had very goofy teeth before and also a few too many of them, so has gone through quite a bit of pain and discomfort over the years sorting them out.  He has really been brave throughout it.  Anyway, he has come home today from Kidsclub having broken one of his front teeth - eeek!  This particular tooth is an old favorite, having now been capped three times since he dove into a swimming pool with his mouth open!  I know it can be fixed (although the first time I was really worried).  We are so near having lovely teeth for him and now this.  I hope I can get an appointment for him before he gets his braces off, so at least he will have a completely wonderful smile.

I am girding my loins to do battle with the local dentist tomorrow and to beg them to fix Matthew's tooth quickly and on a convenient day for me!! Wish me luck.  They do normally see children quickly but they too have all these new rules - they don't see children every 6 months, now its only once a year.

Still on about teeth (yawn).  Apparently Rosie has a tooth growing at a funny angle out of her bottom jaw, which has only been noticed on xrays recently when we went for her appointment to be assessed for a brace.  I was  told that she did not qualify for a brace for her twisted top front tooth and so we must pay £1300 to sort it out!  Apparently I can set up a standing order, how nice.  I wonder why I go to work and pay all these contributions.  Anyway, I have been waiting for an appointment at the hospital for her about this funny angled tooth.  In July, I got a lovely letter from the Health Authority asking me to choose which hospital I wanted to use, then I waited 2 months before I got a letter to phone up to sort out an appoinemtn, and now I have been told that I had no choice at all and I have to take her miles away to the only clinic for it to a far off hospital!  Its crazy, why not just give me an appointment there in the first place and not waste my time pondering as to which was the best hospital for her, filling in the papers and sending them back?  Is it a mad system or what?

PS: still on the dental front, guess which coward is going on 4th November after a 5 year absence and is only being forced there because her teeth keep playing up?

Catch you later.


Saturday, 21 October 2006

Part 6 -Mummy's Memoirs

I was very busy earlier today, typing up Mum's Memoirs.  It is really fascinating doing it and I am so pleased that she wrote them, they are a wonderful legacy for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Mum would be 81 now if she had survived.  It was so sad and shocking the way we lost her.  She was absolutely fine and was on her 3rd visit back to Poland since she had left when she was a child.  I got a phone call one Saturday morning to tell me that she was not well and had been taken to hospital, within an hour I had another call to tell me that she had gone.  To think of it now still takes the breath out of me.  She was vivacious and strong, I thought she would live forever.  I felt so helpless, she was so far away and it all seemed like a nightmare.  I had always envisaged her coming to live with me in her later life.  It was my stepdad who was the ill one,  not expected to live for that long.  Mum and I had talked and we were going to put an extension on our house if anything happened to him, so Mum wouldn't have to live alone.  In the end he outlived Mummy by almost 10 years.  Mummy died in the same hospital she had been born in, theres a saying and a song isn't there, "the circle of life".  Mum certainly completed the circle.

So, having completely depressed myself, I am now posting Part 6 - enjoy xx


Soon the children in my class were preparing for communion.

I saw a lovely pair of shoes in the shoe shop. They were patent leather with flaps coming together in the centre over a cut out and tied up with laces with knobbles on them. I would get mother to come shopping and drag her to the shoe shop. I would point them out, keep telling her about them but she bought me a dull leather shoe with a bar going across. I was very disappointed. I was broken hearted when I saw them on Gise. It spoiled all my communion.

I went to the altar rail knowing I was going to be pure, a different person. But all I could think of was those shoes.

After the service we were taken to the photographers. We would have a photo taken together - Gise and I to keep forever as a keepsake of our great and wonderful day. We would look back in years to come when we were both ladies and remember that we had even been friends when we were little.

My heart was not in it. She had my shoes on. She had a step-father but she still got those shoes.

Mother was quite cross with my sulks by that time. She pushed me to the centre with Gise who was happy and pleased. I tried to smile but then I thought I must try to make myself look good if I’m to look at this picture forever.

While the photographer was getting ready I had to decide quickly which of my faces I would have. I’d practised for hours in front of the mirror my faces. I would not do the smiling ones because I had no front teeth.

I had a whole collection I could go cross eyed and pull my lip under. If I squeezed my eyebrows over my eye lashes all my eyelids stuck up with the eye lashes curled in between the folds of my eyebrows.

I could do my side face, turn my whole face until my mouth was on the side and only the side teeth showing - and frighten myself my speaking in a hoarse voice. Even with full side teeth I don’t think my mother would have liked that one.

I would make a face mouth turned round in the corner like a frog, jutting my tongue out in flicks. [Oh, I do remember her doing this face for us]

After thinking over hastily my repertoire I decided to let my jaw hang loosely.

The photo came out with me with a lantern jaw and Gise with her shoes looking lovely.

I don’t really like to look at myself and her remembering our great day!


[Mum is on the left in the photo above]

After the photographs and dinner we  (the holy ones) all set off together with the priest and attending ladies for a picnic.

We were given a bag of goodies - rolls with garlic sausage, cakes, oranges and sweets. A nice time was had by one and all.


[Mum went back to Austria a few years before she died.  She made her way back to Berndorff to the see the old ‘block’ (house) where she had lived. Guess who was still living there in one of the flats … yes it was Gise. They had not seen each other for over 60 years. Gise had never forgotten Mum either. Mum was overjoyed to find her old friend and spent a day with her, it was lucky as had Mum been a day later she would have missed her friend as Gise was going away on holiday the next day - it is all fate. Anyway, Mum went back the next year and they had a few days together. The little photos at the beginning of my entry, show Mum and Gise together again and one of them outside the Block, the same place that Mum lived as a little girl when she was friends with Gise).  Mum took some pictures of Gise’s flat when she visited her and the walls were all covered with antler’s horns. Now I must really search those photos so I can put that one in too. ]



Mum and Gise outside the Block (Mum on left) - see the marks from shellfire sustained in the war on the walls


Ahh, heres Gise on the left and Mummy on the right, back on the streets of Berndorff.


Well, I have messed around with all sorts of things to get these photos on and the last two I have managed to do with photo bucket. 

Have a great day everyone.

Terry x

Part 5 - Mummy's Memoirs

Here is Part 5, hope you enjoy.

We children used to collect may flies in match boxes, hoping to find the largest. We would compare them with whose was the largest, fattest, whose could walk the quickest. They were like big beetles, brown in colour with large soft wings. They would fly around and it was quite easy to catch them, they were so large and clumsy.

I would be busy catching as many as I could. Mother did not like them, so I was not allowed to bring them into the house. I would let them go in the evening, so in the morning the work would have to begin again in case I met someone with a larger collection of may flies than I had.

Strolling players and gypsies would come round. They would come and play musical instruments. There would be bears on chains that would dance. Great big bears, their mouths all dribbling. We would stand around but watchful that the bear would not get too near. Sometimes big boys would throw stones at the bear. They would run behind it pelting it with stones. The bear would make horrible noises, and I would be sure somehow he’d loosen his chains and get hold of me. All the people in the house would come to watch these entertainers. Then one of them would go round with a hat for a collection .

The town we lived in was called Berndorff which means the village of the bears. In the place where the last bear had been caught was erected a stuffed bear in a cage.

The town was surrounded by mountains. There was a big mountain just past the town, it was mostly forest and at the top was a pub where people would rest for refreshments. Children were allowed in pubs in Austria, food would be served. In the evening there was singing and dancing.

Big groups of yodellers would sing and zithers and violins were played. It was very gay.

We would go out on Sunday and walk all day. Some of the mountains had caves in them and big boys would climb inside them popping out high above and disappearing again and then coming out again until they reached the top of the cliff. I would want to do it too but mother would not let me.

At the end of Summer the women in the block would take great bags and go together to the forest. In a clearing there were blackberries, miles of them it seemed to me. They would pick the berries for the whole day.

I would help too, eating and picking until I was tired, then I would go into the Great forest with my friends. It was beautifully shaded with big pine trees, some of the trees had little pots under them to catch the rubber, a hole was made and a ridge of the bark was cut up.

There were beautiful flowers in the forest, pink bells like fuchsias and mushrooms but without Mother I would not pick any in case they were poisonous.

Great deer could be seen, you’d come of them standing stiff with great antlers on their heads. I used to long to stroke one, but as soon as you even flickered an eye they would bounce off.

The blackberries would be cooked and preserved for the winter. I don’t remember eating any other jam but blackberry.

My favourite food was large slices of rye bread with pork dripping and paprika sprinkled on it.

We would cut off the green tops of onions, pinch some of mother’s washing powder, stir it with water in a cup and blow bubbles with the green stalk of the onion. We played with hoops, yo-yos, tops. I especially liked a top with a ridge in the centre which would be put on a string which was held with sticks and the string pulled up and down, the top would spin. If it spun quickly enough you could even throw it into the air and catch it on the string again.

I went to kindergarten too in Austria but don’t remember much about it.

At seven children went to school. I was very excited. There were the school books to buy, pens, pencils, a wooden pencil box with a slide top for the pens and pencils. Ink and books for writing in. But the best of all was the dark brown leather satchel. It had straps of leather at the back, so you put your arms through each of the straps and you carried it on your back.

Everything smelled wonderful. I sniffed and sniffed. The leather of the satchel, the smell of the books, pencils and pen and ink. I don’t remember all that much of school. It was a tall old-fashioned building in the town centre.

Before school Mother would send me in the co-op shop to buy crisp rolls which we would eat with cocoa made with milk. She would cook that on a small mentholated cooking machine. The smell of the meths and cocoa rolls with butter. It was lovely. Then I’d be off to school.

One day I was throwing snowballs, I hit a girl. She was very cross and threw snowballs back at me but we became great friends. Her name was Gise John. She was my very best friend. She lived in the next block in our road. We were inseparable. I used to sneak my sledge out in the morning and she would be waiting. We would ride the sledge to school. One would sit on, the other would push and then climb on the back seat when the speed was fast enough. We would leave the sledge in the bushes outside the school. Mother had said sledges weren’t allowed in the school, and did not know I took mine.

Milk was brought for break-time but I did not like it although the small bottles looked so nice, I could not drink it. It made me feel sick.

I soon learned to read and write, the reading book was mostly fairy stories - Hansel and Gretel, the goat with the seven kids and the wolf etc. I would read and read. I read everything I could get my hands on.

One day a piece of paper was put through the door. I read it eagerly, you could pay so much a week to be cremated. Easy terms. No worries to relatives when you died. It would all be paid for.

I could not understand it. What was cremated? I rushed upstairs to Frani - “what is cremated?”. Why would the relatives have worries when you died?

“Burn you”! I could not believe it! Supposing you were not really dead, what would happen then?

Even if you die your soul still lives, if they burned your body the would die. I was horrified. I went cold and numb all over. I had not thought of death for so long. I could not die. I would not be burned. I remember going to the cemetery, there were apart from the graves walls with little doors on them with the person’s name, date of birth and death engraved on them. A little stand or rack to hold flowers in. I used to wonder how small the little cupboards were but decided they must hold very tiny children.

Now I knew. They held ashes in a vase. If their relatives went abroad they could be taken out and taken with them.

I shuddered! For weeks after I used to lay in bed and think about dying and being burned. I’d see the coats at the back of the door moving and I knew it was the devil after me, trying to make me die. I’d scream and my mother and father would come and take me into the kitchen and give me bread and milk. Then father would carry me into the bedroom and put me into his bed.

I would turn my back to him and he would hold me. I would talk until I was tired then say “I’m going to dreamland, dream of me”. So I would fall asleep but every morning I would be back in my hated bed again. The clothes on the back of the door would be clothes again. I was very good for a long time, to show them if I died I was too good to burn.

It seems my mum was fascinated by death at a very young age!!!

Catch you later.


Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Paul O'Grady

As some of you noticed I deleted my entry about him last night.

I got an email last night from the TV company, and it said that Paul would not be doing any shows because he had a week off and that various guest presenters would be covering him.  The email didn't come until 10.30ish and I thought omigod, how could they let me know so late.  Poor Audrey over the road who I was going with was fast asleep and I was really dreading having to tell her that she would not be seeing her beloved Paul O'Grady after all the excitement and anticpation over the last few weeks.  She has not been well either and then her brother in law has taken ill, so its been up and down whether it would be ok for her to come anyway.  I knew she really wanted to go as he is her idol although it seemed like all the elements were conspiring against it.  But  ... when I last spoke to her last night, she was raring to go, had got her hair done and had planned her ensemble!  We had made our arrangements final and we were leaving early, so we could fit in loads of other things too as she hasn't had a trip up to London for quite a long time.

So, I sent a terrible email to the TV company, ranting and raving that we had been looking forward to it, how could they not let us know earlier, that my friend would be so terribly upset etc, etc.  I then sent my sister an email carrying on and also I then posted an entry on my journal ranting on and on!  My husband refused to speak to me any more about it as I was being boring - ooooh!!

Then .... I looked at the email again and then checked my tickets ... the dates they were talking about were next week.  Well my hot flush faded as quickly as it had come.  We were safe  ... it was next week that he wouldn't be there so we would see him after all.  Husband's comment was "silly cow".  I was past being upset by name calling though. 

I hastily deleted my entry with very red cheeks and then sent an email to my sister ... oh what a embarrassing moment, eh!  I then sent a really grovelling email to the TV company but checked the tickets and saw they had no numbers or anything to identify me personally, otherwise I think they would have said "stop that woman", she can't come in.

After all the excitement, I couldn't get to sleep so sat up until 1 a.m. and boy have I suffered today because I had to get up at 6.30 to get the kids organised for school.

And did we enjoy Paul O'Grady.  Not 'alf!  Audrey even managed to get his attention by waving her Liverpool Scarf in the break and he blew her a kiss, he made her a very happy woman. 

She did marvellously today - we have been to Oxford Street where she bought some new clothes from BHS and then had a little make over with make up in Debenhams. 

We then had coffees from a small cafe in a little side street off Oxford Street where they had the cheek to try to charge us a discretionary service charge of 10% (making the cost of two coffees almost £6 and the waitress said we had to pay it when we refused!  I pointed out the word discretionary and she didn't seem to understand it!  Then she got her revenge as she didn't bring the sugar I had asked for!! The ladies on the next table took the charge off too, we almost caused a mini revolution!  The other ladies gave me their sugar, so I was happy in the end.  Did we pay the charge, NO!  I would have probably given a tip if it wasn't forced on me. Hmmphh.  Audrey made me giggle when she asked those ladies if they were going to see Paul O'Grady too! 

We then took a taxi to Covent Garden as I thought it best to give Audrey a bit of a break from the steps in the underground but it was a bit of a problem getting her in and out of the taxi.  I never thought but if you are a bit stiff they are really hard to get in and out of.

We had a lovely meal at Maxwells, my favourite restaurant there.  We had seats outside and people watched.  We had a lovely waiter, who couldn't have been more pleasant and sweet to us and he was rewarded with a very nice tip.  See we are not that bad really.

We had a little wander round and I was surprised that not many entertainers were about, only a few jugglers and people pretending to be statues.  Even the little market that is normally full of bric a brack was full of punky things but I was pleased to find a little red and black jumper amongst them which I knew Rosie would love (she is a Beano fan).

We then made our way back to Covent Garden Tube.  Audrey was full steam ahead after her lovely meal and rest.  We decided to get off at Shepherds Bush Tube Station and to walk around to the Television Studios near White City Tube Stn.  We had a pleasant walk, stopping in a charity shop on the way!

We got to the TV Centre about an hour earlier and I was surprised to see a massive queue. It seemed we were the last ones there for a while and I wondered how long all these people had been queuing?  I was shocked that we only just managed to get in.  Some people were told they couldn't come in as the capacity audience had been reached.  I felt so sorry for them but when I checked the back of the ticket I realise they had covered themselves for the event of there being too many people.  So the golden rule is get there very early if you are going to one of these shows.  Apparently they want a full audience and always send out more tickets than seats in the studio, so there are always some disappointed people. 

Jade Goodey was on the show and I like her so was very pleased to see her.  She looked absolutely stunning, she is really pretty.  She has a cute new hairstyle and is really slim although she still has big boobs. I watched Jade's PA programme the other night and she really has lost a massive amount of weight.

There was also a chap on that does something called River Cottage and was talking about eating animals testicles but I found him very boring and could feel myself nodding a bit! 

Paul O'Grady was charming and he is a complete professional and I really enjoyed the show.  He has a sweet little dog who was on earlier in the show and it was wagging its tail enjoying itself.  I can't imagine my dog liking being on there when everyone claps and makes a noise.  He would be really frightened.  As I had never seen the show before I didn't even know how long it was going to go on for but I think we were there for almost 2 hours.  I also think the show went out live today so if anyone saw us we were sitting at the back of the audience.  I think Audrey waved her scarf around a few times and she looked very glam with her new make over!

We were really lucky getting home.  One tube to Liverpool Street and straight onto a train back home.  We were both back indoors with our feet up by 7.40 which is not bad going as we left the TV Studio at 6.15!

Anyway, off to rest now.  Next time I get an email from anyone about something I am going to do I will check the date carefully before I scream.

Catch you later.



Sunday, 15 October 2006

Putting the big photo on again

Hope this is clearer but as I can't control it, I'll delete this photo soon.  Mum is the one in the pretty dress, with lace on the collar in a v shape, third row back on the right, she is standing.  Ahh she was so pretty.


Mummy at school

Heres a picture of mum, standing three rows back, she is third from the left with the lovely patterned dress with lace in a v neck collar.

I tried to post this on the last entry but I just couldn't control it.  Thanks Linda for the new advice, it seems I am not that great at controlling anything here at the mo!!  I feel really thick.  Trying to put this one on and it just goes in a separate window and I can't get hold of the corners.  I thought it was because the last entry was too large that it went in the separate window, but here it is doing it again, so I am just going to do this as an add picture although it is harder to see. 





Mum's Memoirs - Part 4

I hope you enjoy this part of mummy's memoirs - I did.


The summers were lovely. I could not wait after the hard winter for the day when the sun came out and I could take my shoes off and go barefooted. It was so thrilling going down the freezing concrete stairs, the stairs growing colder and colder under my feet as I went down to play. Then the stones in the yard! Every stone seemed to cut a fresh wound with every step. I would stub my toes on anything but I would not put my shoes on. It would be heavenly to sit down and give relief to my feet but this was what I had waited for so long, pleading with my mother, refused so many times. The pain was really part of the pleasure.

After a few days I forgot my feet. I only put my shoes on to go to church. Then the shoes were agony, hot and tight. The relief of taking them off and letting the warm air flow and calm the ache.

The washing in the house was done in a communal wash room. Large concrete tubs with fires underneath would boil the clothes, then the clothes would be put in large wicker baskets and carried down to the river for rinsing. A hut ran across the river with half the floor cut out and a ledge. Ladies knelt along the edge and opened the clothes to let the river water rinse them. I wanted to help too but mother would not let me. I would fall in and no-one could swim to get me out. But I kept on trying to join in when she wasn’t watching. When she caught me at it I would get a big thump and I would run out of the hut screaming. One day after a extra hard wallop I ran out crying and bumped into a tree with my nose. I thought I’d broken it. I was stunned! I ran back to mother but she only gave me another smack for not looking where I was going. After that I did not bother going with the washing. It was useless, she would not let me help her and I got more smacks there than at anything else. Mother was always short tempered. She was not well, something to do with her stomach. She was always taking medicines. She could not go to the toilet. I think it was around that time she became a senna pod fiend. There were always cups of senna pods in water. She would not eat and was very thin.

[After granny died, we filled a whole dustbin with her prescription senna pods].

I was thin too. I was not interested in food. Lunchtime I was cooked special soup made from bacon bones and pearl barley. Pearl barley was good for me to restore my appetite. I just couldn’t bear it. The soup would be put down in front of me as first course. Great big plate of it. If I did not eat it I would not get anything else and I would not go out to play!

I would get a spoon, and in desperation put it into my mouth. The pearl barley would go round and round in my mouth but I could not swallow it. The strong bacony taste would make me feel sick. I would starting retching - father would hold my chin and command me to swallow it. The next spoonful would take even longer and tempers would get shorter. The soup would get colder, I would end up crying, looking at the pattern of the old table cloth I would blubber away. I still remember the blue squares of that cloth with flowers within the squares with wooden pieces nailed around it to keep it from fraying. I would sit there for hours, until I found they had lost interest and I would sneak out when they weren’t looking.

Their friends would praise their children to me. How much they ate, and how strong they were. They made me feel bad that I did not eat big plates of soup like their children. I’d think I can do it - until the next meal.

I was a great trial to my mother. She seemed to have no understanding, whatever I did, it was wrong, nothing made her happy. She was always downcast and miserable. She would not let me go out to play if she could help it. I used to look out the window after the rain and see the children making dykes out of the mud and die to get out, I’d beg her to let me go but she would get an old shoe box and pieces of material to make a bed of it and coax me to play with it. I’d sit at the window watching the children, pretending to play with the box. She would get flour bags made of cotton, on which I would draw flowers and patterns. I was quite keen on embroidering them and armed with the flour bags and embroidery silk would say I would much rather sew them in the yard with the sun. So she would come with me. There were wooden benches in the yard. The yard was big. The houses were built in a square around the yard. Around the outside of the houses there were gardens allocated to the tenants. In the road grew walnut trees and in the autumn whole families turned out to knock the walnuts down. These were gathered and shelled and stored for the winter in the lofts which were also used for drying clothes when the weather was bad.

We had two rooms, the windows were double. In the winter it was very cold. When we woke up in themorning the snow was higher than men. Tunnels were built where people could walk.

I had two great ambitions at that time. Wellington boots with zips up the side and a sledge.

I got the boots and the sledge for Christmas. I was so thrilled. I took the boots upstairs to show Frani. Her lover was with her. He too showed great keenness for my boots, pulling the zip up and down and making a great fuss of them. Then he asked me could he have them. I had thought how wonderful he was to appreciate them so much as I did but when he asked me for them I was stunned. How could I refuse? I said he could have them, hoping he was joking and would not take them at all.

He put on his coat and hat, put the boots under his arm and said “Good night”. I heard him going down the stairs. Would he come back? I waited listening for his footsteps to return. He did not come back. I shot to the door, down the stairs, out of the house and then I saw him, I was sobbing with fright that I would not find him or my boots.

By the time I reached him I was howling noisily. He turned round and saw me. I cried “I want my boots”. He gave me them back and we both returned to the house. They all thought it was very funny. I liked him.

On my sledge I would spend hours on the hills. At first even the smallest ride would fill me with fear. After a few rides I got better and bolder, higher and higher I would climb, until I reached the highest part of all. Even then the slide was not steep enough. I found another higher hill with dips in it and I would spend hours and hours on it. Once I crossed a lake with big hills surrounding it. I climbed to the highest hill, lay on my sledge and down I went. When I reached the lake the sledge did not stop. It carried me round and round. I clung to the sledge praying it would not overturn, I had never gone so quickly and I was very frightened.

After a few goes and when the sledge overturned I got a few bruises but even that became tame. But by the time that passed the winter would be nearly over. I was quite cowardly and each winter I would have to go through the same process. The courage I had had the winter before had gone, even the small slides would be frightening.

The spring would arrive, with Easter. In the shops on display weeks before were Easter Rabbits made from chocolate. Spring lambs made from white and pink sugar with sugared flowers on the lamb’s head, they were very beautiful. Small speckled eggs with cream inside were the only Easter eggs made.

Mother would boil eggs in onion skins - they would turn a beautiful orange brown. Easter morning the table would be set with the brown eggs in the centre, salt on a plate. The eggs were taken in the hand and we would crack them against each others. It was a great thing if you happened to have such a hard skinned egg that everyone else’s egg cracked.

Then after Easter on Sundays people would go for long walks into the country. Miles and miles. Then they would settle for picnics. Big baskets of food would be taken and lemonade for the children, beer and wine for the grown ups.

There would be music, harmonicas, zithers and even a fiddle. Most of the men wore lederhosen. Short leather trousers with embroidered braces, long grey socks and a pork pie hat with a big shaving brush on the side.

Everyone would sing. The yodelling was fantastic. I’d yodel as loud as I could but mother didn’t like me doing it, so I would keep out of her way. Later in the afternoon, rested with fortified wine and beer, they would dance.

In the early evening we all would wander home. Father would have to carry me. I used to be too sleepy to walk.